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Grading the Ravens offense vs. the Patriots

Grading the Ravens offense vs. the Patriots

Whatever momentum the Ravens generated in a 38-6 rout of Miami two weeks ago evaporated in New England on Monday night as the Ravens lost, 30-23, to fall out of a playoff spot with three games left.

Frankly, only a couple of gifts by the Patriots in the form of fumbles deep in Patriots territory made this a game.

For most of the night, the offense -- with no running game, no rhythm, and certainly no sense of urgency late in the game -- resembled the unit that has slogged its way unimpressively through the first three months of the season.

And the defense was picked apart by Tom Brady, who even without favorite target Rob Gronkowski threw for 406 yards and three touchdowns.

It's time to hand out the report cards for Monday night's game, beginning with the offense.



For the second straight week, Joe Flacco set a franchise record for completions, as he was 37-for-52. But all that slinging the ball around added up to just 324 yards, as the Ravens used dumpoffs and checkdowns as the major portion of their offense.

The Patriots dropped back in zone coverage, but Flacco gave up too quickly on downfield options and dumped off to a running back. Flacco's accuracy was not what it needed to be, either. He underthrew receivers at times, and even some short completions were high, hurting the chance for yardage after the catch.

Overall, Flacco looked too much like the inconsistent Flacco from earlier this season.

And it's up to Flacco to come up with better options than a 1-yard dumpoff on third-and-12.



Each week the Ravens say they won't abandon the running game, and then each week they do. Monday night, the Ravens ran the ball just four times in the first half for a total of 7 yards.

Kenneth Dixon finished with 39 yards on a 11 carries and also had a team-high eight receptions (on a team-high 11 targets) for 42 yards. He runs hard every time in the ball is in his hands and continues to impress.

Terrance West was a missing man much of the night. He played just 14 snaps and finished with two carries for 2 yards. He also had four receptions as the running backs remained too big a part of the Ravens passing game.

Fullback Kyle Juszczyk had a career-long 40-yard catch-and-run reception, but he was also overmatched as a lead blocker on the play that resulted in a safety.


Flacco was sacked twice, but it didn't appear to be a breakdown in protection that led Flacco to dump off the ball so often. Jeremy Zuttah was beaten badly on a sack, and the Ravens were hurt by a few key penalties. A Rick Wagner false-start penalty on 2nd-and-1 led to a punt two plays later.

The Ravens averaged 3.0 yards a carry. With first-round pick Ronnie Stanley and Marshal Yanda on the left side, it seemed curious how often the Ravens ran to the right.


The Patriots game plan seemed to be to deny the middle of the field, where Dennis Pitta had done so much damage against the Dolphins. Pitta was a nonfactor with four catches for 18 yards.

Darren Waller caught a 3-yard touchdown and Nick Boyle had three catches for 15 yards. But there wasn't much yardage after the catch for this group, which is a problem when they routinely run patterns short of the first-down marker on third down.


The Ravens threw as many passes to running backs as they threw to Mike Wallace, Steve Smith and Breshad Perriman.

Mike Wallace had five catches for 52 yards, but he had a couple of passes slip through his hands, although Flacco also underthrew him at times and overthrew him at others. Wallace shouldn't have to make a leaping catch on a 4-yard pass.

Breshad Perriman (3-52) had a 47-yard catch on one of the rare balls that Flacco aired out, and Steve Smith had four catches for 57 yards.

Kamar Aiken had just one catch. Like all the Ravens receivers, he wasn't targeted often enough considering Flacco threw the ball 52 times.


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Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

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Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

On Wednesday, February 14, a horrific school shooting claimed the lives of 17 innocent people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. 

The tragic event impacted people far and wide, and hit especially close to home for Ravens running back Alex Collins.

The former Arkansas star was born in Plantation, Fla., a suburb of Fort Lauderdale and went to high school just 15 miles south of Douglas High School. 

In the offseason, Collins took Irish dancing lessons to improve his footwork, and following the act of terror, the Ravens' tailback learned that one of his dance partners had been killed in the mass shooting.

17-year-old Cara Loughran attended The Drake school of Irish Dance with Collins in addition to two other Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and was fatally shot by the gunman on Wednesday afternoon. 

Collins took to his Twitter account to issue this heartfelt message.


“The school shooting yesterday hit home,” Collins wrote.

“We received confirmation a few hours ago we lost one of the girls, Cara Loughran. Two other girls saw and experienced unspeakable tragedy. My heart goes out to these girls, all their families and their teacher Chrissy.”

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Baltimore Ravens to take on Chicago Bears in Hall of Fame game

USA Today Sports

Baltimore Ravens to take on Chicago Bears in Hall of Fame game

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears will launch the NFL's 99th season by playing in the annual Hall of Fame game on Aug. 2.

The Ravens' first appearance in the Hall of Fame game, which launches the league's 2018 Enshrinement Week. Former Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis is among the inductees, along with former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.

Lewis, who played 17 seasons with the Ravens, and Urlacher, who played all of his 13 seasons with Chicago, both were elected on the first ballot.

Lewis joins Jonathan Ogden as the only Ravens in the Hall of Fame. Both were selected by Baltimore in the first round of the 1996 draft.

The other members of the Class of 2018 include Bobby Beathard, Robert Brazile, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. All will be inducted on Saturday, Aug. 4.

This will be the record-tying fifth time that the Bears will play in the Hall of Fame game. They won the previous four, most recently 27-24 over Miami in 2005.